First swim of 2022 accomplished! Took me awhile to get back down there but I’m very glad I did. This marks one year of extremely regular bay swimming! My average is probably twice a week – there were a bunch in there where I was very regular with a MWF schedule but lately not so much. It felt COLD to me today but that’s probably because oh right it’s January and also because it’s been a bit since I’ve been in… still in my sleeveless wetsuit though, so that’s something. I think the water temp today was 50? Not sure. Definitely one of my fave ways to start a weekend :)
I have a cake for you today! I think I say this every time but I really don’t make cakes that frequently. Probably because I can cram more fruit into something like a crisp or a galette and that’s always a priority, but I like a good cake now and again for a change.
This one fits the bill perfectly – it’s poppy seedy and almondy, with a moist crumb and a bit of pleasantly dense texture. As it is grain/gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free, it relies primarily on eggs for its loft and is made only with almond flour. I consider this to be a super simple cake – it doesn’t require a bunch of different flours or a mixer. In fact, it could easily be put together for a brunch the morning of; the blood orange curd (gf but not dairy free) can be made in advance up to a week, so that’s an easy one to knock out a few days ahead.
I love this for dessert with ice cream but it most definitely holds its own in a brunch/breakfast situation, and it’s perfect alongside coffee. The blood orange curd is of course optional but highly recommended (and not intimidating! don’t let it scare you off). Plus, blood orange season isn’t super long – I try to take advantage while I can. They are so beautiful!
In other news, we’ve been having some beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the city of late – here’s a sunrise from earlier this week and a cactus happily doing its cactus thing.
I hope your weekend is full of good things! Maybe cake? I definitely recommend cake :)
Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Blood Orange Curd
Grain and gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. Kind of paleo, I guess? A riff on this almond cake I made years ago. Lightly sweet and perfectly moist, especially good for midwinter citrus season! The blood orange curd is gluten free and refined sugar free but made with butter; I think a dairy free butter would work here. Yield: one 6-9″ cake (depending on cake pan of choice), serves several.
2 c (packed) almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 c poppy seeds
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 c maple syrup
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
blood orange curd, for serving (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease an 8″ springform (or cake pan, or cast iron! I’ve used a deep 7″ cast iron to great effect here; I’ve also used a 6″ springform very successfully for a taller cake) with coconut oil and dust with a bit of almond flour. If I use a springform, I typically set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment to catch any drips.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, soda and salt, and poppy seeds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together beaten eggs (just beat these in the same bowl before adding everything else) maple, almond and vanilla extracts, and melted coconut oil. Whisk in lemon zest and juice. Stir wet ingredients into dry, until combined. Pour batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 35-40 minutes (9″ will probably be more like 35; my 6″ springform went for 40) – the top should be golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack! Ideally give it at least 10 minutes before releasing the springform; if you used a cake pan, I’d suggest letting it cool completely before removing. Serve warm, room temp or chilled (for a nicely solid cake; I love the texture of chilled coconut oil cakes) with a dollop of blood orange curd and a few citrus slices.
Keeps well overnight in the fridge.
Blood Orange Curd
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 c blood orange + meyer lemon juice (I used 4 small blood oranges + 1 lemon)
blood orange zest (I just zest as many as I will use for juice)
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla
I use a double boiler for this lemon curd, which I highly recommend! You don’t have to, but in my experience it makes for a better cooking process. Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler until it’s at a high simmer. In the top of the double boiler, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, citrus zest and juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the butter one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, not adding the next tbsp until the first is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens and will coat the back of a spoon (or your whisk leaves tracks) – usually around 5 to 8 minutes. It’s a noticeable change when it happens, so just watch the cooking magic! Remove from heat, and strain through a metal strainer to remove zest and any bits of cooked egg. Store in a glass container in the fridge until ready for use – can be made up to a week ahead.